Career paths

How to Land a Google BOLD Internship

The secrets to landing a BOLD internship that no one tells you - from applying to how to get a return offer.

It's no secret that every Google internship program is difficult to break into.

With an estimated acceptance rate of 2-5%, the BOLD internship is no exception.

With such intimidating numbers in mind, applying may seem like more of fantasy than a reality. However, with the proper information and preparation, a Google internship is more than attainable. In this guide, we'll break down the application, interview, and program details, and tell you how to have the best shot at becoming part of Google's next intern class.

BOLD Programs You Should Know About

The BOLD Internship Program

The BOLD internship is an 11 week program, designed for rising undergraduate seniors.

Google prioritizes folks from historically underrepresented groups in the tech industry, including (but not limited to) Black, Hispanic, and Native American students, veterans, and students with disabilities. During this summer internship, students can be placed in fields like...

  • Sales: Work alongside Google managers, consultants and analysts to develop sales pitches and negotiate with clients
  • Marketing and Communications: Work alongside diverse employees, from statisticians to event planners. These interns will exercise their creative thinking and help market Google products worldwide
  • People Operations: Work in Google’s human resources department alongside ex consultants and top HR professionals. These interns need superior people skills, plus an ability to anchor and support others
  • gTech: Work alongside engineers and the sales team to create innovative tools, or products that will help the company grow. An ideal fit for those with technical and product sense.
  • Finance: Work on innovative solutions in project management, accounting, and more. These interns help keep Google organized and on track to meet financial goals 
  • Legal: Gain first hand experience with the legal side of a massive corporation. Work alongside legal experts to learn about policy, law, and the ins and outs of internet regulation

The BOLD Immersion Program

Google BOLD Immersion is a 5-7 day program that gives students a glimpse into life at Google. It takes place at multiple times and locations worldwide, with the United States program (in Mountain View) taking place in early August.

To apply, students must be in their sophomore year (the program takes place before junior year begins) and be in excellent academic standing.

Why is this program worth your time? In addition to networking with employees, learning about tech, and being ~immersed~ in Google's culture, you're put on a fast track to the BOLD internship! Most immersion program graduates are given the opportunity to interview, and many end up joining the BOLD intern class the following summer.

If none of those roles sound exciting, don't worry! If the technology industry is where your interests lie, Google has an internship program for you. Check out our videos on Google's software engineering internship and APM program for more insight.

All the Application Details

Dates to be aware of

Getting a hold of specific dates is pretty difficult. Based on dates from past years, here are our best guesses...

  • Applications Open: September 2021 (potential dates: 13th-18th)
  • Applications Close: November 2021 (potential dates: 9th-14th)
  • Interviews conducted on a rolling basis: October 2021 - April 2022
  • Internship starts: Late May/June 2022, and goes for 11 weeks

While this is traditionally the format, rumor has it that 2020 applications opened for 4 days during mid August (2019). Keep your eye on the Google Careers page, or consult your University's career office for more information.

What to expect from the application

The initial application asks for...

  • Basic contact information
  • A copy of your transcript
  • A copy of your resume
  • An optional cover letter, that you should definitely do. Even though Google tends to skim cover letters, taking the time to write one shows your interest.

If your application moves past the first round, you will be send a supplemental form. This asks you to provide additional information about your experience, plus location and position preferences. Select positions that you're both qualified for and interested in to give you the best chance of moving on to the interviews. 

After the supplemental form is submitted, be prepared to wait. Some students don't hear back for months regarding the status of their application.

How to prepare in the meantime

1. Apply for the BOLD Immersion program, if you're in your sophomore year. Recruiters comb through these applications before they move on to the general applicant pool. So, if you can land yourself a spot in this coveted program, your chances of getting the internship are pretty high.

2. Revamp your resume and have qualified people review it. "Qualified" people include company connections, ex BOLD interns, your school's career advisor, or other folks in the field you're interested in. Highlight experiences relevant to your preferred role and understand the traits/qualities Google prioritizes. To get started, check out our video on optimizing your resume for Google.

3. Make connections with previous BOLD interns, especially those from your school or those you know personally. They can tell you more about the application, interview process, and the program itself. If you play your cards right, these ex-googlers can even give you a reference. References will make your application stand out to recruiters, when the time comes.

Extra tip: LinkedIn is your best friend. Filter people by experience (the BOLD internship!), university, or groups you have in common. 

4. Show interest in Google at every turn. Check with your University career office to see if Google is holding info sessions, networking events, one on one chats, or other experiences on campus. With covid-19 influencing our current landscape, ask about university-sponsored opportunities to digitally connect with Googlers as well.

If you make a good impression on a recruiter or employee, they may become a reference down the line. Be sure to give them your resume, get their contact information, and keep in touch. 

Everything About The Interview

What to expect from the interview

If you made it to the interviews, congratulations! Most folks are weeded out in earlier steps and, if Google chooses to speak with you one-on-one, they're very intrigued. From here, there are 2 steps before receiving an offer:

  1. The interviews: You will undergo 2 back to back interviews via Google Hangouts. Each will be 30-45 minutes long and questions will vary based on the role you're interested in. However, most folks can expect behavioral questions surrounding communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, and Googleyness. Make sure you have a killer answer to "Why Google"-- interviewers want to be certain that you're passionate about the company.
  2. The selection process: After the interviews are complete, both interviewers submit feedback to an anonymous third party - the hiring committee. To become a Google intern, this committee must decide that you're the right fit for the program.

If you make it through both of these steps, you will likely get an offer. Most BOLD graduates report receiving an offer 3-7 days after their interviews via phone. A formal offer will make its way to you via email in the weeks that follow.

How to prepare in the meantime

1. Acquire a deep understanding of the company and industry. This includes (but is not limited to) Google's product offerings, company culture, and roles that you may occupy or need to work with.

Additionally, you should start keeping tabs on the tech industry as a whole. It's important to understand the major trends, players, products, and headlines. Subscribe to tech blogs or listen to Podcasts to make sure your industry knowledge is up to date.

2. Prepare for behavioral questions. These questions will likely make up the bulk of the interview. Be prepared to tell stories of your past experiences that exemplify the skills and traits Google is looking for. To start, we recommend researching common behavioral questions, both within your role and in business roles overall.

Then, make a document of potential stories you could use to answer these questions. These could reflect your experiences during a group project, a leadership position, a past internship, a student organization, or any other significant setting in your young adult life. Having these specific examples on hand will help you answer questions that start with "tell me about a time when you..."

👉 Want to know which questions to look out for? Check them out here.

3. Use the Google interview guide. According to ex-BOLD interns, if you move on to this round of the process, you can expect to receive an interview guide. This provides an overview of how Google interviews work and how to prepare. Since these guidelines are coming from the company itself, they are some of the most trustworthy pieces of advice you'll come across. Be sure to study the interview guide carefully and focus on the elements that Google tells you to!

4. Mock interview with the right people. Many folks resort to mock interviewing with friends or classmates, but this usually does more harm than good. It's unlikely that they have enough experience to provide feedback or adequately judge the quality of your answers. If you want to practice your interview skills in this manner, you need to find a qualified interviewer. Here are a few ways to find one:

  1. Connect with ex-BOLD interns. They experienced the interview process firsthand and succeeded. They can tell you what to expect, how to prepare, and if your answers will live up to Google's standards.
  2. Leverage your connections within Google. If you know any Google employees in your department of interest, or you're able to find one who's willing to chat, you may have found an excellent mock interviewer. These folks will understand both the interview process and their field in depth, and be able to provide role-specific feedback.
  3. Use Candor's mock interview tool. At, you can gain access to hundreds of questions asked in Google interviews, undergo a mock interview with us, and receive feedback from industry professionals. 

The Program: What It's Really Like

Potential program locations: Interns can be placed at approximately a dozen offices. You'll have your chance to rank locations during the application. The most popular include Ann Arbor (MI), New York City (NY), Chicago (IL), San Francisco (CA), and the headquarters in Mountain View (CA).

What to expect from the program

The Google BOLD Internship experience is tailored to each individual, and dependent on the team they're placed on. Some folks have a variety of work, where each day is a new experience, while others work on the same 1-2 projects throughout the duration of the program. 

With that in mind, there isn't much to say about specific responsibilities. However, there are a few themes that remain consistent throughout the BOLD experience:

  • You will be challenged. You will be treated as a a valued employee and expected to participate in important conversations, make decisions, and push your professional comfort zone.
  • You will learn a lot. Not only will you leverage and develop existing skills, but you'll acquire new ones that you may not have expected.
  • You will get to know a ton of people. From other BOLD interns to team members to Googlers you want to learn from, there are plenty of opportunities for interaction, networking, and relationship building.

Perks to look forward to

The pay. Google internships are notorious for their high paychecks. While exact figures are difficult to come by, expect to live very comfortably in whichever city your internship takes place.

The environment. Regardless of your internship location, Google's facilities are beautiful and full of perks. Free meals, company gyms, arcade games, and massages are just a few of the in-office experiences that Google offers. Learn more about perks here.

The mentorship. In a formal sense, every intern has a team manager and an opportunity for one on one mentorship. In a less formal sense, opportunities for guidance exist everywhere throughout the organization. Whether you ask an employee to grab lunch or engage with an Employee Resource Group, there are countless ways to acquire formal and informal mentors at Google.

The professional development opportunities. Google's BOLD internship is designed to foster valuable learning opportunities and career skills. Through development programs, custom learning opportunities, speaker series, and more, Google ensures its intern experience prioritizes professional growth. 

The community. Google's emphasis on cultural fit has paid off (although some people disagree). This positive, playful, and teamwork-oriented culture fosters strong bonds between employees. Interns typically become close with one another, their team members, and other folks they meet along the way.

Will you receive a return offer?

Converting a Google internship into a full-time offer isn't always easy. To boost your chances of securing a full-time opportunity, exceed expectations throughout the internship. Deliver high quality work, respond to criticism appropriately, and consistently strive to improve your team's project and experience. If your team enjoys your presence and work, you're much more likely to be invited back full time!

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